Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries Holy Bible

Is it Christian, to accept ONLY what the Holy Bible says? // The meaning of Divine Inspiration of the Holy Bible and the sources that confirm its canonicity

 

THE BOOK OF TOBIT

The Fish, as mentioned in the Book of Tobit: Superstition, or a Prophetic Symbolism? 

 

 

1. Protestant excuses for a supposed "superstition"

The Canonical and (to say the least) Divine book of the Holy Bible, titled Tobit or Tobias has not been acknowledged by Protestant groups, on account of the traditional rejection it has undergone by the heresy of Protestantism, which prefers to cling to the narrow Canon of the non-faithful Jews rather than the broader Canon of the Christians. In this way, Protestantism has resorted to slander this Divine Book also, in a desperate attempt to justify their impiety. They slander it, along with 9 other Books, which they have similarly excluded from the Holy Bible. They have slandered all these books, on various pretexts.  One such pretext will be examined in the present article.

The excerpts that they seek to justify their impiety with are from a narration mentioned in chapters 6,7,8 and 11.  The story narrated by those passages is briefly as follows:

Tobias, son of the pious Tobit, is sent by his blind father on a mission to collect a large sum of money which he had loaned someone some time ago, in a distant city.  As his guide on that journey, he hires an angel sent to them by God - whom they however perceive as a normal human being.

On that journey, Tobias and the angel catch a large fish in the waters of the river Tigris; they consume its flesh but, in compliance with the angel's suggestion, they do not discard the gall bladder, the liver and the heart.  Later in the narration, Tobias uses the liver and the heart to cense away the demon that was the cause of the deaths of all the previous suitors of Sarrah, his wife-to-be. When they return home, he uses the bile of that fish to anoint his blind father's eyes, and his sight is actually restored.

That which scandalizes Protestants in this narration, is the use of the fish entrails for healing and for exorcizing a demon. They scorn this, as a "superstition" and "charlatanism" and as such, totally unworthy of inclusion in the Holy Bible or recognized as a special action that was inspired by an angel. According to them, therefore, this story alone is enough reason for the Book of Tobit to be rejected - others labelling it as "deuterocanonical" (for example, Pentecostals), and others, even more ignorant (for example, Jehovah's Witnesses), who refer to it as "apocryphal".

In their publications, the latter use this excuse as their most significant argument against this book of the Holy Bible, by propagating the following DISTORTION of the truth:  "The book of Tobit, which was probably written during the third century BCE, is a superstition-filled narration about a certain Jew named Tobias. As mentioned in there, he was able to acquire powers of healing and exorcism by using the heart, the bile and the liver of a huge fish" ("Watchtower" 15 September 2002 p.17).

The Pentecostals on the other hand say the following about the Book of Tobias, on account of the same narration: "Furthermore, that a demon killed the husbands of the seven-times-widowed woman out of jealousy, is more reminiscent of Babylonian myths"  ("Deuterocanonical and Apocryphal: The Witness of the Ancient Church" by Christos Halkias).

We shall therefore respond here to the matter of supposed superstition, while the matter of dating and Babylonian myths will be tackled in more detail in forthcoming articles of the same series.

But before responding to this Protestant argument on how superstitious or not the story of Tobit is, let us first read the narration from within the book itself, so that our readers can form their own opinion on the matter:

2. The crucial excerpts

The crucial verses that the Protestants invoke, in order to accuse this Divine Book of the Holy Bible, are the following, in the original ancient text, and the English rendition next to it:

Tobit  6:1-19, 7:1,12-17. 8:1-4. 11:1-12.

Ancient text

 CHAPTER 6

 1 Οι δε πορευόμενοι την οδόν ήλθον εσπέρας επί τον Τίγριν ποταμόν,                       και ηυλίζοντο εκεί.

2 το δε παιδάριον κατέβη περικλύσασθαι, και ανεπήδησεν ιχθύς από του ποταμού και εβουλήθη καταπιείν το παιδάριον.

3 ο δε άγγελος είπεν αυτω· επιλαβού του ιχθύος. και εκράτησε τον ιχθύν το παιδάριον και ανέβαλεν αυτόν επί την γην.

4 και είπεν αυτω ο άγγελος· ανάτεμε τον ιχθύν και λαβών την καρδίαν και το ήπαρ και την χολήν θές ασφαλώς.

5 και εποίησε το παιδάριον ως είπεν αυτω ο άγγελος, τον δε ιχθύν οπτήσαντες έφαγον. 6 και ωδευον αμφότεροι, έως ου ήγγισαν εν Εκβατάνοις.

7 και είπε το παιδάριον τω αγγέλω· Αζαρία αδελφέ, τι εστιν η καρδία και το ήπαρ και η χολή του ιχθύος;

8 και είπεν αυτω· η καρδία και το ήπαρ, εάν τινα οχλή δαιμόνιον ή πνεύμα πονηρόν, ταύτα δεί καπνίσαι ενώπιον ανθρώπου ή γυναικός, και ουκέτι ου μη οχληθή·  9 η δε χολή, εγχρίσαι άνθρωπον, ος έχει λευκώματα εν τοις οφθαλμοίς, και ιαθήσεται.

 

10 ως δε προσήγγισαν τη Ράγη,

11 είπεν ο άγγελος τω παιδαρίω· αδελφέ, σήμερον αυλισθησόμεθα παρά Ραγουήλ, και αυτός συγγενής σου εστι, και έστιν αυτω θυγάτηρ ονόματι Σάρρα·

12 λαλήσω περί αυτής του δοθήναί σοι αυτήν εις γυναίκα, ότι σοι επιβάλλει η κληρονομία αυτής, και συ μόνος ει εκ του γένους αυτής, και το κοράσιον καλόν και φρόνιμόν εστι.

13 και νυν άκουσόν μου και λαλήσω τω πατρί αυτής, και όταν υποστρέψωμεν εκ Ραγών, ποιήσομεν τον γάμον· διότι επίσταμαι Ραγουήλ ότι ου μη δω αυτήν ανδρί ετέρω κατά τον νόμον Μωυσή ή οφειλήσει θάνατον, ότι την κληρονομίαν σοί καθήκει λαβείν ή πάντα άνθρωπον.

14  τότε είπε το παιδάριον τω αγγέλω· Αζαρία αδελφέ, ακήκοα εγώ το κοράσιον δεδόσθαι επτά ανδράσι και πάντας εν τω νυμφώνι απολωλότας.

15 και νυν εγώ μόνος ειμί τω πατρί και φοβούμαι μη εισελθών αποθάνω καθώς και οι πρότεροι, ότι δαιμόνιον φιλεί αυτήν, ό ουκ αδικεί ουδένα πλήν των προσαγόντων αυτή. και νυν εγώ φοβούμαι μη αποθάνω και κατάξω την ζωήν του πατρός μου και της μητρός μου μετ ‘ οδύνης επ ‘ εμοί εις τον τάφον αυτών· και υιος έτερος ουχ υπάρχει αυτοίς, ος θάψει αυτούς.

16 είπε δε αυτω ο άγγελος· ου μέμνησαι των λόγων, ων ενετείλατό σοι ο πατήρ σου, υπέρ του λαβείν σε γυναίκα εκ του γένους σου; και νυν άκουσόν μου, αδελφέ, διότι σοί έσται εις γυναίκα, και του δαιμονίου μηδένα λόγον έχε, ότι την νύκτα ταύτην δοθήσεταί σοι αύτη εις γυναίκα.

17 και εάν εισέλθης εις τον νυμφώνα, λήψη τέφραν θυμιαμάτων και επιθήσεις από της καρδίας και του ήπατος του ιχθύος και καπνίσεις,

18 και οσφρανθήσεται το δαιμόνιον και φεύξεται και ουκ επανελεύσεται εις τον αιώνα του αιώνος. όταν δε προσπορεύη αυτή, εγέρθητε αμφότεροι και βοήσατε προς τον ελεήμονα Θεόν, και σώσει υμάς και ελεήσει. μη φοβού, ότι σοί αυτή ητοιμασμένη ην από του αιώνος, και συ αυτήν σώσεις, και πορεύσεται μετά σου, και υπολαμβάνω ότι σοι έσται εξ αυτής παιδία.

19 και ως ήκουσε Τωβίας ταύτα, εφίλησεν αυτήν, και η ψυχή αυτού εκολλήθη σφόδρα αυτή.

ΚΕΦΑΛΑΙΟΝ 7

 1 Και ήλθον εις Εκβάτανα και παρεγένοντο εις την οικίαν Ραγουήλ, Σάρρα δε υπήντησεν αυτοίς και εχαιρέτισεν αυτούς και αυτοί αυτήν, και εισήγαγεν αυτούς εις την οικίαν.

...

12 και εκάλεσε Σάρραν την θυγατέρα αυτού, και λαβών της χειρός αυτής παρέδωκεν αυτήν Τωβία γυναίκα και είπεν· ιδού κατά τον νόμον Μωυσέως κομίζου αυτήν και άπαγε προς τον πατέρα σου· και ευλόγησεν αυτούς.

13 και εκάλεσεν Έδναν την γυναίκα αυτού· και λαβών βιβλίον έγραψε συγγραφήν, και εσφραγίσατο.

14 και ήρξαντο εσθίειν.

15 και εκάλεσε Ραγουήλ Έδναν την γυναίκα αυτού και είπε αυτή· αδελφή, ετοίμασον το έτερον ταμιείον και εισάγαγε αυτήν.

16 και εποίησεν ως είπε και εισήγαγεν αυτήν εκεί, και έκλαυσε· και απεδέξατο τα δάκρυα της θυγατρός αυτής και είπεν αυτή· 17 θάρσει, τέκνον, ο Κύριος του ουρανού και της γης δώη σοι χάριν αντί της λύπης σου ταύτης· θάρσει, θύγατερ.

 ΚΕΦΑΛΑΙΟΝ 8

 1 Ότε δε συνετέλεσαν δειπνούντες, εισήγαγον Τωβίαν προς αυτήν.

2 ο δε πορευόμενος εμνήσθη των λόγων Ραφαήλ και έλαβε την τέφραν των θυμιαμάτων και επέθηκε την καρδίαν του ιχθύος και το ήπαρ και εκάπνισεν.  3 ότε δε ωσφράνθη το δαιμόνιον της οσμής, έφυγεν εις τα ανώτατα Αιγύπτου και έδησεν αυτό ο άγγελος.

4 ως δε συνεκλείσθησαν αμφότεροι, ανέστη Τωβίας από της κλίνης και είπεν· ανάστηθι, αδελφή, και προσευξώμεθα, ίνα ελεήση ημάς ο Κύριος. 

ΚΕΦΑΛΑΙΟΝ 11

1 Και επορεύετο μέχρις ου εγγίσαι αυτούς εις Νινευή. και είπε Ραφαήλ προς Τωβίαν· ου γινώσκεις, αδελφέ, πώς αφήκας τον πατέρα σου;

2 προδράμωμεν έμπροσθεν της γυναικός σου και ετοιμάσωμεν την οικίαν·

3 λαβέ δε παρά χείρα την χολήν του ιχθύος. και επορεύθησαν, και συνήλθεν ο κύων όπισθεν αυτών.

4  και Άννα εκάθητο περιβλεπομένη εις την οδόν τον παίδα αυτής·

5 και προσενόησεν αυτόν ερχόμενον και είπε τω πατρί αυτού· ιδού ο υιος μου έρχεται και ο άνθρωπος ο πορευθείς μετ‘ αυτού.

6 και Ραφαήλ είπεν· επίσταμαι εγώ ότι ανοίξει τους οφθαλμούς ο πατήρ σου.

7 συ έγχρισον την χολήν εις τους οφθαλμούς αυτού, και δηχθείς διατρίψει και αποβαλείται τα λευκώματα και όψεταί σε.

8 και προσδραμούσα Άννα επέπεσεν επί τον τράχηλον του υιού αυτής και είπεν αυτω· είδόν σε, παιδίον, από του νυν αποθανούμαι και έκλαυσαν αμφότεροι.

9 και Τωβίτ εξήρχετο προς την θύραν και προσέκοπτεν, ο δε υιος αυτού προσέδραμεν αυτω

10 και επελάβετο του πατρός αυτού και προσέπασε την χολήν επί τους οφθαλμούς του πατρός αυτού λέγων· θάρσει, πάτερ.

11 ως δε συνεδήχθησαν, διέτριψε τους οφθαλμούς αυτού, και ελεπίσθη από των κάνθων των οφθαλμών αυτού τα λευκώματα.

12 και ιδών τον υιόν αυτού επέπεσεν επί τον τράχηλον αυτού

13 και έκλαυσε και είπεν· ευλογητός ει, ο Θεός, και ευλογητόν το όνομά σου εις τους αιώνας, και ευλογημένοι πάντες οι άγιοί σου άγγελοι· ότι εμαστίγωσας και ηλέησάς με, ιδού βλέπω Τωβίαν τον υιόν μου.

 

English rendition

 CHAPTER 6

1. While travelling on the road, they came upon the river Tigris in the evening and they camped there.

2. The youth went down to bathe and suddenly a large fish jumped out of the water and wanted to swallow him.

3. The angel said to him: 'take hold of the fish' and the youth held the fish and placed in on the ground.

4. And the angel said to him: 'cut up the fish, remove the heart and the liver and the gall and store it safely'.

5. the youth did as the angel told him, and after cooking the fish, they ate it.  6. and they both went on their way, until they reached Ekbatana.

7. And the youth said to the angel: 'brother Azarias, what is (the meaning of) the heart and the liver and the gall of the fish?'

8. And he replied: 'the heart and the liver, if one is troubled by a demon or an evil spirit, one must burn them before a man or a woman, and they shall no longer be troubled by them. 9. As for the bile, it is for anointing a person who has white specks in his eyes, and he shall be healed.'

10. As they approached Rages,  

11. the angel said to the youth: 'brother, today we shall stay with Raguel, for he is also your kin, and he has a daughter named Sarra;

12. I shall speak in her favour so that she be given to you as a wife, for you are entitled to her inheritance, and you are the only one of her kindred and the girl is fair and prudent.

13. And now listen to me and I shall speak to her father, and when we return from Rages, we shall perform the marriage; for I shall ensure that Raguel does not give her to another man according to the law of Moses, otherwise he will face death; for you are entitled to receive the inheritance, and not any other person.'

14. Then the youth said to the angel: 'Azarias my brother, I have heard that the girl was given to seven men and all of them died in the bridal chamber'

15.  and now I am my father's only child and am afraid that I will die if I enter the bridal chamber, just like the previous husbands, for she is loved by a demon who does not harm anyone else except those who approach her. and now I fear I might die and cause the death of my father and my mother out of grief for me, and they have no other son who can bury them.

16. The angel said to him: 'Do you not remember the words of your father, who instructed you in favour of obtaining a wife from your kindred? And now listen to me brother, for she will be your wife, so do not mention anything about the demon, for tonight she will be given to you as a wife.'

17. and if you enter the bridal chamber, you will take some ashes of incense and place upon them the heart and the liver of the fish and create smoke,

18. and the demon will smell it and will go away and never return, forever and ever. When you have consummated with her, you must both get up and cry out to the merciful God and He will save you and be merciful. Do not fear, for she was always intended for you and you will save her and she will come along with you and I perceive that you will have children with her.'

19. And as soon as Tobias heard these things, he loved her and his soul cleaved strongly to her.

 CHAPTER 7

1. And they arrived at Ekbatana and stayed at the house of Raguel; Sarra went out to receive them and she greeted them and they her, and she brought them into the house.

[...]

12. And he called Sarra his daughter, and taking her hand gave her to Tobias as wife and said: "behold, according to the law of Moses, take her with you and lead her to your father" and he blessed them.

13. And he called his wife Edna and taking a scroll, inscribed a writing on it and sealed it.

14.  and they began to eat.

15. And Raguel called his wife Edna and said to her: 'sister, prepare the other room and take her to it'.

16. And she did as he told her and took her there, and she wept and she understood her daughter's tears and said to her: 'Be brave child, may the Lord of Heaven and Earth give you joy in place of this sorrow. Be brave, daughter.'

CHAPTER 8

1. When they had finished the meal, they took Tobias to her.

2. As he went towards her, he remembered (the angel) Raphael's words and took some incense ashes and placed upon them the heart of the fish and the liver and created smoke. 3. and as the demon perceived the smell of the fumes, he fled to the uppermost parts of Egypt and the angel then bound it.

4. As soon as they were both sequestered, Tobias arose from the bed and said: 'get up, sister, and let us pray so that the Lord will be merciful to us'.

CHAPTER 11

1. And they travelled until they reached Nineveh; and Raphael said to Tobias: 'do you not know, brother, how you left your father?

2. Let us move ahead of your wife and let us prepare the house.

3. Also take the gall of the fish in your hand.' And they went forth, and the dog went along behind them.

4. And Anna was sitting down, looking towards the road for her child.

5. and she perceived him to be coming and said to his father: 'behold, my son is coming, along with the person who was accompanying him.'

6. And Raphael said: 'I know very well that your father will open his eyes.

7. you may anoint his eyes with the bile, and upon being stung, he will rub them and will be rid of the white specks and he shall see you.'

6. And Anna ran up to him and fell upon the neck of her son and said to him: 'I saw you, my child, and from now on I can die' and they both wept.

9. Tobit was coming out through the doorway and stumbled, and his son ran towards him.

10. And he took hold of his father and he spread the bile over his father's eyes, saying: 'do not be afraid, father'.

11. So, as soon as they both stung him, he rubbed his eyes, and his eyelids swept away the white specks.

12. And on seeing his son, he fell upon his neck

13. and he wept and said: 'Blessed are You, o God, and blessed is Your Name throughout the ages, and blessed are all Your holy angels; for You have given me an affliction but have also been merciful, for behold, I can see Tobias  my son.'

 

 

3. Two measures and two standards

Before giving a final and unquestionable response to the blasphemous Protestant claims that this book of the Holy Bible is "superstitious" or "deuterocanonical" or "apocryphal", it would be good to examine just how fair and rational their criteria are.  Is the smearing of this holy book of the Holy Bible an actual and a fair judgment of it, or is it only an excuse for their irreverence?  We wonder, have they judged the other books of the Holy Bible (which they acknowledge) based on equally strict criteria of superstition, or have they purposely omitted to judge them,  by closing their eyes and only "seeing" whatever they believe is in their interest to see?

Let us first examine what exactly scandalizes them in this book, with regard to the fish and the use of its entrails by Tobias and the Angel:

What scandalizes the Protestants?

1) The first thing that scandalizes them, is that the liver and the heart of the fish do not have the property of expelling demons, as the book of Tobias indicates.

2) The second thing that scandalizes them, is that the bile of a fish is also not a means of healing blindness.

3) the third thing is that an angel of God gave such "erroneous instructions" for the entrails of the fish to be used in such a way, and that albeit erroneous, they actually "did the trick" according to the narration:  the demon was, in fact, expelled and Tobit was also cured!

Just how plausible are these points that the Protestants invoke when opposing this holy book?  Do they really believe them to be truths? Could it be that the points they condemn here they accept as accurate elsewhere?  Are they being consistent, by accepting the rest of the Holy Bible as supposedly "rid" of similar "superstitious" stories?

 

Are there similar instances in the Holy Bible, which however are accepted as non-superstition in the books that Protestantism acknowledges?

A consistent appraisal of the Holy Bible will reveal - not one - but very many similar narrations which could easily be characterized by mistrustful readers as "superstitions". Let us take a look at certain characteristic examples, from the many that we could mention:    

a. Jacob defies the laws of Biology in order to increase his flocks:

31 and Laban said to him: 'what should I give you?'  And Jacob said to him: 'Nothing. If you do what you told me, I will continue to shepherd your sheep and guard them. 32 Take away all of your sheep today, separating from them every brown sheep among the lambs, and every white and speckled one among the goats, and they shall be my wages. 33 and my justice shall be made known on the morrow, what my wages are before you: and whatever is not streaked and speckled among the goats and brown among the lambs, will be considered stolen by me.' 34 And Laban said to him: 'So be it, as you say'. 35 And he isolated on that day the speckled and the white male goats and all the speckled and white she-goats, and everything that was brown among the sheep and every one with any white among them, and gave them to the care of his sons. 36 And he moved away, at a distance of three days' journey between them and Jacob. Jacob resumed herding the remainder of the flocks. 37  Jacob, however, took fresh-cut branches from poplar, walnut and plane trees and made white stripes on them by peeling the bark and exposing the white inner wood of the branches. 38 Then he placed the peeled branches in all the watering troughs, so that they would be directly in front of the flocks when they came to drink. When the flocks were in heat and came to drink, 39 they mated in front of the branches. And they bore young that were streaked or speckled or spotted. 40 Jacob set apart the young of the flock by themselves, but made the rest face the streaked and dark-colored animals that belonged to Laban. Thus he made separate flocks for himself and did not put them with Laban's animals. 41 It so happened that during the mating period of the sheep, Jacob would place the branches in the troughs in front of the animals so they would mate near the branches, 42 and whenever the sheep gave birth, he did not place them there. Thus the unmarked animals went to Laban and the marked ones to Jacob. 43 In this way the man grew exceedingly prosperous and came to have large flocks, and maidservants and menservants, and camels and donkeys. (Genesis 30:31-43)

Do you know of many shepherds who make their sheep give birth to varicoloured offspring, by simply making them face varicoloured objects? Do you believe that this method is recognized by Biology as a valid one ?  If not, then how on earth did Jacob implement it AND SUCCEED? And how come the Holy Bible itself tells us of such superstitions? Even worse, how could it describe them as ... successful ?  And why is it, that Protestants did not notice this superstition in the book of Genesis and accordingly throw out that book from the Canon of the Holy Bible, like they did with Tobit? Could it be that they notice only what they want to notice?

b. Jacob's wife uses Mandrake and... ensures her pregnancy:

 14 During wheat harvest, Reuben went out into the fields and found some mandrake plants, which he brought to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah, "Please give me some of your son's mandrakes." 15 But she said to her, "Wasn't it enough that you took away my husband? Will you take my son's mandrakes too?" "Very well," Rachel said, "he can sleep with you tonight in return for your son's mandrakes."  16 So when Jacob came in from the fields that evening, Leah went out to meet him. "You must sleep with me," she said. "I have hired you with my son's mandrakes as payment." So he slept with her that night.  17 God listened to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son. (Genesis 30:14-17)

Why don't you try asking an obstetrician or gynecologist about this method with... mandrake, and see if he will confirm that is is a scientific method?  How is it, that the Holy Bible writes such things?  Even if it were nothing more than a mere reference to an erroneous superstition by Jacob's wives, how on earth did God "hearken" to this superstitious method and...bless it?  Didn't the Protestants notice this incident either?  So, why do they still keep Genesis among the books of the Holy Bible, but have excluded Tobit?  Why do they regard the one incident to be a superstition, but the other incident not?

c. Elisha heals a man, with...water:

9 So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha's house. 10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, "Go, immerse yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed."  11 But Naaman went away angry and said, "I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than any of the waters of Israel? Couldn't I wash in them and be cleansed?" So he turned and went off in a rage.  13 Naaman's servants went to him and said, "My father, if the prophet had told you to do something impressive, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, 'Immerse yourself and be cleansed'!" 14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became like that of a young boy and he was cleansed.   (2 Kings 5:9-14)

Who needs Hansen, doctors and...antibiotics?  A simple dip in the Jordan - the best cure for Leprosy! And not just any water, but the Jordan's water ONLY! (This should be quite a task for Chemists: to analyze its contents, and see what other elements the water has!).  But this too went unnoticed by the Protestants, and not labelled as a "superstition" that was implemented AND likewise successful!  And yet, they continue to accept the Book of Kings II as a Divinely Inspired book and within the Canon of the Holy Bible, even though it contains therapies with...dips in the Jordan...  Somehow, the Book of Tobit was a nuisance, so they threw it out of the Canon!  What kind of discrimination is this?  Yes to water, no to bile?  Talk about hypocrisy....

d. Christ heals a blind man, with ...soil and saliva:

 6When He had thus spoken, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,  7And said unto him, 'Go, wash in the pool of Siloam', (which translated means "the sent one").  So he departed, and washed himself, and came back seeing. (John 9:6-7).

Saliva, soil, and a face wash in the pool of Siloam!  Behold, the cure for blindness!  And what are doctors doing about it?  Why don't they also apply the same method to all the blind?  Or is this a superstition also? And by whom? By Christ Himself - the Son of God, no less!  And yet, Protestants continue to accept John's Gospel in the Holy Bible, as a divinely-inspired book, even though it clearly describes the curing of blindness with spittle and soil.  Their "explanation" is that this specific case of healing was a MIRACLE!  And yet, Tobit's healing with bile apparently was NOT a miracle, but a mere superstition!  Miracles are described, only in the books that they have judged as being divinely inspired, depending on whether it is expedient for their own purposes.  But not in the other books. In them are superstitions, not miracles! So, out with the book of Tobias!

How do Protestants explain the "superstition" described in Tobit, as opposed to the other "superstitions" of the Holy Bible?

So, what do Protestants say to the non-faithful, when they point out those Scriptural "superstitions" to them?

They of course say that "they aren't a product of superstition, nor the actions of water, Biology, saliva, clay or mandrake, but they are all MIRACLES performed by God, regardless of the means used. Regardless whether the means was superstition or merely a symbolism."

Agreed!  This is a proper reply by Protestants. But how is it, that they see miracles in the books that they have accepted, and NOT see miracles in the Book of Tobit, which they have rejected?  Why did they shut their eyes and their hearts there?  Why are they so trusting with the other books of the Holy Bible and so distrustful with the Book of Tobit?  Why are they resorting to two measures and two standards?  Where is their rationale?  Where is their sense of fairness?

Why do they NOT WANT to understand that similarly, in the Book of Tobit, "neither the liver nor the heart or the bile of the fish per se were the objects that cured and drove out the demon, but were merely SYMBOLIC means, through which the Lord performed the miraculous cure of Tobit, and the expulsion of the demon?"  And why do they not open their hearts, to perceive that the PROPHETIC SYMBOLISM that God is giving them in this prophetic book, pertains to Lord and God, Jesus Christ, centuries before He was born in the flesh, here on earth?

Wasn't it made clear in the book of Tobit, that GOD was the One Who performed those miracles, and NOT the fish entrails?  Doesn't it say that the demon was "bound up by the angel" (ch.8:3)?  Where does it say that the demon was expelled, only with the fish entrails, and not by a miracle?  Didn't they see that the couple offered up a prayer, in chapter 8:4?  If they had entrusted their salvation to the fish entrails and not to God, why then did they pray?

Didn't they see Tobit's prayers and his sense of fairness? Didn't they pay careful attention to the Angel's words regarding Tobit's cure - that it was going to be an act of God that would be supervised by the Angel and NOT the fish?:  And Raphael said: 'I know very well that your father will open his eyes. (ch. 11:6).

Could it be that Protestants haven't bothered to read any of the above details and have rejected that holy book of the Holy Bible, simply because their leaders taught them so? Could it be, that they aren't even slightly familiar with the books of the Holy Bible, which they supposedly defend so adamantly ?

 

4. Superstition, or prophetic symbolisms?

Having pointed out the Protestant hypocrisy and delusion with regard to the supposed "superstition" in the book of Tobit, let us now look seriously at the great wonders that the Lord God (and not the fish entrails) performed, in order to perceive something far deeper:  to understand the reason that God had commanded the Angel Raphael to specifically use the internal organs of a fish and not something else. Because, ONLY an understanding such as this will put things in their correct perspective, and will also irreparably expose the Protestant rejection of this holy book, which had essentially PROPHESIED ABOUT OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.

They will then surely need to rethink why they have rejected as "superstitious" a book that PROPHESIED ABOUT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST...

Who else could have inspired such a prophecy about the Lord Jesus Christ, if not God Himself?

A. THE FISH

         

Let's begin with the fish. Why did God perform these miracles of His through a fish?

This is something that we need to remember: What was the significance of the fish (= ΙΧΘΥΣ in the ancient Greek form), in the first Christian Church? The catacombs and the ancient Christian Churches are full of this symbol (see images above), whose letters are an acronym that stands for the phrase:

"Ιησούς (Jesus) Χριστός (Christ) Θεού (God's) Υιός (Son) Σωτήρ (Saviour)".

Thus, by utilizing a fish for the cure, in compliance with the instructions of the Angel Raphael, the book of Tobit is providing us with the first message that: "healing, and victory over demons, is obtained only through Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Saviour."

B. CONSUMING THE FLESH

The second prophetic symbolism is provided through the consumption of the flesh of the fish that they caught. The text says: "...and after roasting the fish, they ate it." (ch.6:5).  In the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, "...for my flesh is truly nourishment..." (John 6:55)

C. THE HEART AND LIVER

Now, what is the role of heart and liver? What else, but the circulation and the purification-filtering of BLOOD.  Both organs are the par excellence organs that have to do with our blood!  That is why these two organs were especially chosen by the Angel.  God is the One Who "...hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son, in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins: (Colossians 1:13-14).  This deliverance was depicted with Sarra's deliverance from the demon that had held her captive, in the powers of darkness!  Through the "fish" (ΙΧΘΥΣ) Jesus Christ, we therefore have here a pre-depiction of in-Christ deliverance!  Apart from this, we should not overlook the connection between the heart and love - and in this example the love of Christ, which went as far as the giving of His Blood: "..unto Him who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood..." (Revelation 1:5).

D. THE INCENSE

But we notice that the heart and the liver were also used during censing!  Why?  Doesn't the Holy Bible speak of "...golden vials full of fragrances, which are the prayers of saints..."? (Revelation 5:8).  Doesn't this also indicate that PRAYER saves the saintly from the powers of Satan, through the Blood (heart, liver symbols) of Jesus Christ?  And isn't smoke another symbol of the Holy Spirit? “…and the priests were not able to stand in order to serve, on account of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God…”  (2 Chronicles 5:14).  So, isn’t the incense a pre-depiction of the prayer of the Saints in the Holy Spirit, offered in Jesus Christ?

E. THE BILE

But then, wasn’t the healing of the blind Tobit yet another pre-depiction of the words of the Holy Bible, which Christ had repeated in reference to His Person?   “…The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me; that is why He anointed Me: He sent Me to bring the joyous news to the poor, to heal those with crushed hearts, to preach liberation to those who are held captive, and the restoration of vision to the blind, to send the spiritually crushed towards freedom, to preach the time that is acceptable to the Lord.."  (Luke 4:18,19). Isn’t Tobit’s incident a case of restored sight, liberation and consolation to the crushed spirits, and joyous news to the poor?  And all these things through Christ the ΙΧΘΥΣ?

Pay special attention here:  The very Gospel of salvation, liberation and healing by Christ, to all concerned, was pre-symbolized in a wondrous manner by means of the bile of the ΙΧΘΥΣ

Remember what the Holy Bible says about the promises of the Gospel:  “And I went towards the angel, asking him to give me the small book. And he said to me: Take it, and eat it whole; and it shall make your belly bitter, but your mouth shall be sweet, like honey. And I took the small book from the hand of the angel and I ate it whole; and my mouth was as sweet as honey, and after I had eaten it, my belly was made bitter. And he said to me: You must again prophesy for peoples and nations and tongues and many kings..” (Revelation 10:9-11).

Bile is by nature bitter. But its effect on Tobit was a sweet cure. Thus likewise is the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, Whom we preach.  He heals, He liberates, He consoles, He saves.  Sweet is the Gospel to the mouth – a Gospel of consolation, of healing, of liberation… However, it is bitter to all those who “assimilate” it and adjust their life to it, because it is written that: “all who desire to live in a pious manner, in Jesus Christ, shall be persecuted…” (2 Tim. 3:12).  

It is a Gospel that is preached: "with much patience, with tribulations, with needs, with sorrows, with beatings, with imprisonment, with disorderliness, with pains, with vigils, with fasting…” (2 Cor. 6:4,5).

 It is a therapeutic and miraculous Gospel, whose enemies however strive to stifle it today, as they did back then, and as they will, through to the end of Time: “And, having summoned them, they ordered them to not speak at all, nor to teach in the name of Jesus. However, in response to them, Peter and John said: If it is fair before God to listen to you rather than God, then be your own judges; because we cannot refrain from telling what we saw and heard. And they, after threatening them again, sent them away.”  (Acts 4:18-21).

The bile of the fish ΙΧΘΥΣ is a symbol of the Gospel of Christ, which, albeit bitter by worldly standards – as opposed to Godly for those who are evangelized – is sweet-tasting to the righteous with its healing and brings light into their eyes, just as the righteous Tobit saw the light after being treated with the bitter bile, “so that the eyes of your mind may be enlightened, so that you may know what the hope within His invitation is and what the wealth of glory of His inheritance in the saints is.” (Ephesians 1:18).

F. THE HEALING OF CREATION AND THE MISSION OF THE SON BY THE FATHER

And what can one say about the seemingly “charming” and “insignificant” detail that the book of Tobit gives us, with the domestic dog that followed Tobias throughout his journey? Remember what the book says: “… and Raphael said to Tobias: 'do you not know, brother, how you left your father? 2. Let us move ahead of your wife and let us prepare the house.3. Also take the gall of the fish in your hand.' And they went forth, and the dog went along behind them.” (Tobit 1:1-4).

Now let us focus on the overall picture, and consider the symbolisms contained therein: Father-Son-Angels-Gospel-Bride-Creation. What exactly do we have here?

Notice the prophetic symbolism here also:

a. An angel encourages and prompts the Son to return to His Father,

as per: "…and He was there in the desert for 40 days, being tempted by satan; and He was together with the beasts, and angels waited upon Him” (Mark 1:13)

and per: "…Father, if You want, take away this cup; but let not My will be done, but let Yours be done. And an angel from heaven appeared before Him waiting upon Him and fortifying Him…" (Luke 22:42).

Just as we see Tobias being fortified by the Angel Raphael and coming out victorious in this adventure by vanquishing the demon and by healing and preaching hope, we similarly note how Christ was fortified by an angel; how He spanned His earthly course among human-looking beasts and demons and how, even through to the end, during His agonized prayer at the Mount of Olives, He was encouraged by an angel to return as a victor to His Father.

b. the house is prepared for the Bride,

as per: "In My Father’s house are many mansions, otherwise I would have told you!  Behold, I go now to prepare a place for you. And after I go and prepare a place for you, I shall come again, and I shall take you along with Me, so that you too will be wherever I am…" (John 14:2,3).

And who is the bride of Christ? "You men, love your wives just as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her sake" (Ephes.5:25).

And that is how Tobias is described as having loved Sarra, and having DARED to marry her, even though he knew he was in deadly danger of the demon that was guarding her as his captive. He gave himself up for her sake and he in fact saved her, and was now leaving her behind temporarily and was moving on ahead of her, in order to prepare the house.  Christ had similarly given up His life for the sake of His bride – the Church – and had gone on ahead to His Father’s place in order to prepare a place for her there, “…and thus, we shall be together always, with the Lord " (1 Thess. 4:17).

c. with the Gospel held in their hand,

as per the angel’s instructions to Tobit: " Also take the gall of the fish in your hand.' And they went forth…”, (Tobit 11:3).

As per: "go forth and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to uphold everything as I have instructed you; and behold, I shall be with you every day, until the end of the ages." (Matth. 28:19,20).

Indeed, just as Tobias had taken the gall (=the symbol of the Gospel) in his hand during his departure, thus did the Son depart, after having obtained and delivered the Gospel to His disciples, instructing them to preach it to all the nations.

d. with Creation following behind them

And, just like their faithful dog, who had followed them throughout their adventurous journey, thus Creation follows behind Mankind in anticipation of his glorification when in the end, in the age to come, it too will be partaking of the Divine Blessings,

as per: "the great expectation of Creation is the anticipation of the revelation unto the children of God; because Nature was subjected to futility, not willingly, but on account of the one who subjected it, in the hope that Creation itself will also be freed from the bondage of corruption and will partake of the freedom of the glory of God’s children." (Romans 8:19-21).

The dog walks excitedly behind the angel and the man, following them happily towards the joy and glory that will be revealed in Tobit’s household, and towards the bounteous feast of their rejoicing.  Thus also will Creation follow – behind Man and Angels – the road towards incorruptibility and blessing, in the house of the Father.

The sequence is as follows:  Angels advance ahead of all, showing the way and assisting,

As per: "the word that was uttered, through angels" (Hebr. 2:2), and as per: "Are they not all of them ministering spirits, who are sent to minister to those who are to inherit salvation?" (Hebr.1:14).

Remember, it was also angels who had reminded the Old Testament Man: "do you not know, brother, how you left your father?" (Tobit 11:2), as per the example of the “prodigal Son” who, after a period of time similarly returned to his Father. This was also how the angels during the Old Testament period used to walk ahead of man, ushering him towards salvation and reminding him of Adam’s estrangement from the Father; now, through Jesus Christ, man is again ushered into the house of the Father, while the rest of Creation follows behind man towards its own incorruptibility, the way that Tobias’ dog faithfully tagged along.

This is a clearly prophetic depiction, which has been given from the very beginning of Tobit’s book, but also in another verse of Tobit, where the father says to the son:

"…be prepared for the road; and may you fare well on it· And his son prepared whatever was necessary for the journey. And his father said to him: Travel together with this person; for the God who dwells in heaven will facilitate your path, and His angel will travel together with you. And they both went out to depart, and the youth’s dog along with them. (Tobit 5:17).

We have the same parallel picture here also:  The Father sends His Son to obtain what is His, and invites Him to “travel together with man”. On this journey (which is God’s plan for salvation), it was angels who led the way, followed by mankind, and lastly, Creation itself, which will also be entering the glory of incorruptibility.

Well, what do all the blasphemous deniers of this divine book of the Holy Bible have to say about all the above parallels and symbolisms?

Could it ever be possible for the devil or human wisdom to provide such pre-depictions pertaining to the Lord?  Or is it that the rigidity of their hearts is such, that they are led to deny the very prophecies that so clearly depict the Lord Jesus Christ, in their struggle to preserve their heretic opinion? Doesn't that make them tantamount to deniers of Christ, who refuse the obvious prophecies of the Holy Bible, purely for the sake of their faithlessness? What makes them different ?

Dear Protestants, come to your senses!  This book that you have slandered and have excised from the Holy Bible was given by God, through the Church which you have denied.

What is your explanation for the appearance of prophecies that pertain to Christ in a book of “superstitions” (as you claim)?

What is your explanation for not perceiving all these wonderful prophecies?

After all, the Bible itself says: "From this shall you recognize the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses Jesus Christ coming in the flesh, is (a spirit) originating from God." (1 John 4:2).

So, how could all these prophecies about our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, NOT be from God? 

How can Protestants find it in themselves to deny this prophetic book - whose spirit clearly confesses and prophesies about "Jesus Christ come in the flesh" - and so thoughtlessly label it as “apocryphal” and “superstitious” and “not belonging in the Canon of the Holy Bible”?

Isn’t this a blaspheming of the Holy Spirit? (Mark 3:22-29).

 

Ν. Μ.

 

Translation: K.N. 

Article published in English on: 23-8-2005.

Last update: 23-8-2005.

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